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ARGENTINA | 06-01-2024 11:29

‘In March you’ll feel a huge drop of income’ – Massa re-appears with a warning for union leaders

Former economy minister and presidential candidate attends CGT lunch, where he offers his opinion on the labour grouping's call to strike. Offering self-criticism, unsuccessful presidential candidate says he should have been more vehement in warning the middle class about “what was coming with Milei.”

Former economy minister Sergio Massa met with the leaders of the main CGT umbrella union grouping on Thursday, using the meeting to assess not only Argentina’s economic and political scenario.

After the meeting – Massa’s re-appearance after his unsuccessful presidential bid – The group agreed to meet again later this month in Mar del Plata.

With inflation cutting into the pockets of Argentines every day and President Javier Milei deregulatory reform opening the door to further increases in fuel, private health insurance, public transport tariffs and taxes, there was much to discuss

Massa’s appearance took place at the headquarters of an insurance union. The ex-Tigre mayor arrived late and those present at the meeting said he was self-critical about his election loss to Javier Milei. The former Peronist presidential hopeful, who lost a run-off to his libertarian rival on November 16, feels that he was not “vehement” enough to suggest to society – and especially the middle class – what was coming in terms of price increases if Milei won, as is taking place now,.

For Massa, the middle class will be the sector most affected by the universe of price hikes (public transport, fuel or private health insurance schemes, for example) opened up by Milei and his emergency “economic deregulation” decree. 

The former economy minister told those gathered that “in March,” Argentines will “feel the huge drop of income” compared to last year, because in addition to the aforementioned increases, the time will come for parents to bear school expenses and with no collective bargaining talks scheduled in sight, this deadly combo will make the fall in purchasing power even tougher.

Massa also highlighted that as Milei’s austerity measures progress, along with the indiscriminate opening of some economic sectors, small- and medium-sized businesses (known locally as PyMES) will begin to feel the pinch, leading them even further into crisis, which in turn will impact the social climate.

The veteran politician is convinced that all libertarian plans currently in motion will strongly damage the labour base.

Massa also said he is closing contracts with two investment funds and one university, which he thinks will see him travel abroad for a few days. Yet he laid emphasis on the fact that it was his time as economy minister which opened up these alternatives in the international financial world.

Regarding his current day-to-day life, he pointed out that he spends his time recording the reflections of his political career, words that will eventually form a new book to be published by Planeta, which is being written by Juan Becerra.

Massa is also not thinking of moving out of Tigre, his political stronghold, while he weaves political plans “to help out, not gain positions.” He is also working on the launch of a new foundation, starting in February, which will deal with environmental, economic and labour issues, reviewing the impact of new technologies in production processes and a legislation which accompanies and encourages production investment plans.

Massa told the CGT’s leaders that he thought it was a mistake for Argentina to give up BRICS group, whose countries account for 70 percent of the world population and 60 percent of the global GDP. He feels the decision to take Brazil and China away from the top tier of allied countries is a mistake, given there are many sectors of the local economy that will suffer serious consequences as a result.

According to the former minister, the future of Peronism must focus on the aim of showing that there is another path that can be taken to deal with economic problems. He will provide the CGT with proposals to that respect, and although he told unionists that he believed the general strike scheduled for January 24 a bit hasty, he said he “understood the pressure we were under,” revealed one of the attendants.

He ultimately agreed to draft a report on inflation expected for the first quarter with the measures taken by Milei, and he promised to take part in the roundtables with other sectors aiming at rebuilding “the popular field.”

Massa also agreed with union leaders again later this month in Mar del Plata, where he will be invited as a representative of the votes of 11.5 million Argentines who voted for him.

 

--TIMES/PERFIL
 

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